Friday, June 22, 2018

Weekend Reading: Teetering on the Brink Edition

I underslept last night. This has been happening a lot: I wake up before 6 and can't go back to sleep so I end up getting up and starting my day, but I'm terribly tired. I don't know what's going on here. I'm trying to get to bed earlier to accommodate this, but that cuts into the time I have to hang out with Mr. Snarky. It is frustrating.

Anyway, I'm a little fuzzy-headed, but let's get to the links.

There was a lot of news about immigration policy this week. I am still struggling to keep up without drowning in despair, but I do have some links for you.

Zack Beauchamp's article at Vox about what the "turnaround" in Trump policy means gets at something that is really scary about this situation and about our situation in the US right now in general: A large number of people were OK with the policy of separating children from their families and detaining them in cages or in tents. He also points out that because this policy didn't last long (although I'm not sure it is really gone... more on that in a bit), opinions didn't have time to solidify around partisan lines. So depressingly, it is likely to get worse.

I can't argue with this quote, and that chills me:

"It’s simply a fact that Trump’s racial politics are popular with millions of white Americans; even a policy as vicious as the family separations attracted significant amounts of support. It’s also a demonstrable fact that the strength of GOP partisanship means that, in theory, Republican presidents should be able to attract the support of the party base and, as a result, its political establishment. Those two facts mean that Trump will pretty much always be able to get them to back his attacks on members of minority groups, given time and effort."

Here's another article about partisan identity and how it divides us right now, from Scientific American.

I still have friends who are conservative. I'm not sure if they still identify as Republican: I haven't asked. I value these friendships and maintain them because I like my friends and our policy differences are mostly around tax policy and government regulations. These things matter, but they are at the level of "reasonable people can disagree" in my book.

I am also friends with people who want many fewer immigrants to come to the US and want to change to a system that makes it harder for immigrants to sponsor other family members. I don't agree with those views, but this is also a case where I think reasonable people can disagree.

But I cannot be friends with someone who thinks some of my other friends should be deported because they are Muslim. I cannot be friends with someone who is OK with our immigration policy being implemented in a way that dehumanizes immigrants. Stricter laws could still be implemented in a way that respects the humanity of the people attempting to come here.

And I have to be honest: I am not particularly interested in being friends with people who call people with my political views "libtards." I am not generally friends with people who don't treat me with respect.

OK, back to the immigration issues:

I don't consider the family separation policy over because the children are not reunited with their parents, and it looks like no one had any plan for how to do that. I find that horrifying.

It also looks like the plan is to detain the kids with their families and then use the fact that this is illegal after 20 days to justify separating them again.

I hope continued outcry will make the administration rethink that plan, especially since there are alternatives to detention that have been shown to be effective and much, much cheaper. Given this reality, I struggle to find a rationale for detaining these families during their asylum proceedings other than to deter people from exercising their legal right to request asylum... which is a rationale administration officials have actually admitted to.

This made me lolsob a bit, particularly because a lot of people keep forgetting that Democrats have repeatedly tried to make deals on immigration only to have them fall apart due to Republican hardliners.

And here is my "if you read only one thing" pick for this week. Please read this thread:

We are in a very dangerous place as a country right now. Things are happening that could well turn out to be the initial steps to something very, very bad. This thread is a message from Germans of the 1930s, but present day Germans (who, unlike Americans, learn the full truth about the worst of their history in school) have also been trying to warn us. I hope enough of us listen to allow us to change course. 

I have said many times that I think the 2018 elections are the most important of my life. I am pushing myself to do more to fight for the outcome I think we need to remain a democracy on the path to living up to our ideals. I truly think we have this election and maybe the 2020 election to choose that outcome. If we don't swing at least the house in 2018 and we re-elect Trump in 2020, I think we are leaving the fate of our democracy in the hands of a man who looks up to dictators and the people who have deluded themselves into thinking they can use him to achieve their aims and do not realize that it will actually be the other way around. I do not have high hopes for that situation ending well. So: Let's fight now to avoid the darkest timeline.

Here's a political ad that made me donate to someone in a district that is solidly red. I am directing most of my donations to swing districts, but I want to help the candidates fighting the good fight in the more difficult districts, too.


In other news:

I found this Slate article speculating about why Elena Kagan is siding with conservative justices more frequently now to be really interesting, and persuasive. I think this is Kagan's way of fighting to prevent the darkest timeline.

Leaving politics altogether: Here is a good right up from Derek Lowe of a really interesting finding in Alzheimer's research.

Derek Lowe also wrote a good post about the risks of right to try.

Jia Tolentino will make you want to see Coco if you haven't already.

This is cool:

And this made me smile:

Floofy bunny!

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